PSN Review – Crystal Defenders

August 13, 2009 Written by Jonathan Leack

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Crystal Defenders is a simple game that has been ported from the iPhone to the PlayStation 3. The game merges tower defense style gameplay with elements from the Final Fantasy Tactics series. The game has no story, and instead has 12 maps that are split between 3 different worlds.

The gameplay consists of positioning units along the sides of a trail that leads from the beginning of the map, where the enemies spawn, to the end of the map. If the monsters reach the end of the trail, they steal 1 or more of the 20 crystals that you begin with. The goal is to kill the monsters before they reach the end of the trail, and as each of the 30 waves of monsters progresses, the monsters become tougher, and the strategies required to keep the enemies at bay become more rigorous.

The strategy involved is fun, but dries up very quickly. Thankfully, each of the three worlds incorporate different elements, which helps give the game a small level of variety, but not enough to make it fully enjoyable by any means. The variety of classes adds to the strategy of the game, and each class excels at specific taks. However, most strategy comes down to proper unit placement and proper level allocation. Figuring out the correct sequence for each wave is fun for the first few levels, but becomes overly challenging and repetitive as time goes on. The lack of additional features and gameplay modes makes Crystal Defenders a very one-dimensional experience that’s devoid of enjoyability or replayability.

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The game is played on a 2-dimensional plane, and due to being a port from the iPhone, has very simple controls. In fact, the only things the player has control over are opening up the class window and speeding up the pace of the game. The controls are a clear reminder of how far games have come, and while they are simple, the game is years behind its due time.

Crystal Defenders closely resembles a handheld game. Although the game is available on the PlayStation 3, it’s clearly just a straight port from its iPhone counterpart. The game is still 2D, and there aren’t any clear visual improvements over the iPhone version of the game. The menus are reminiscent of the original Final Fantasy Tactics back in 1997, and the visuals aren’t much better than what the Gameboy Advance can pump out. This is definitely not a game you want to show your friends to prove how powerful the Cell processor is.

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